COGnition: Contemporary wood fired sculpture.

COGnition: Contemporary wood fired sculpture by Richard Brandt, John George Larson and Brad McLemore at the Eutectic Gallery in Portland, Oregon

Friday, June 7 – Sunday, July 28, 2013

Opening Reception: Friday, June 7th, from 6:00 – 8:00pm

With an aggressive approach to manipulating and firing clay, and an exploration of cognitive dissonance; Brandt, Larson and McLemore’s work share a visual vocabulary of the industrial age. While all working independently of each other, these three artists build works with a similar intensity of form and texture, reminiscent of discarded machine bits, cast off spare parts or chunks of mechanical flotsam. Curator Jeffrey Thomas describes the collection as a “debris field” of sorts, “…where each piece can be analyzed, giving the spectator the immediate exploratory sense of cognition.  Even working independently of each other, they come together as cogs in what could be a much larger machine, the sum of their “parts” having a much greater impact than each individual piece.”

Click artist’s name or image to view expanded galleries, bios, CVs and curatorial notes.


RICHARD BRANDT:Richard Brandt: Chains, wood fired stoneware. COGnition: Contemporary Wood Fired Sculpture at Eutectic Gallery

Richard Brandt is a magician of sorts.  For “Cognition”, Brandt offers several objects finished in unusual metallic finishes that are otherworldly, glistening with a kind of oily sheen.  Brandt calls these sculptures “artifacts of the future”.  In contrast to those pieces, Brandt also offers delicately sculpted linked chains made from clay, colored and hand-finished to resemble actual rusted steel chains. The different chain sculptures are delightful feats of “trompe l’oeil”, fooling the eye with their verisimilitude.  Brandt makes the illusion even more effective and engaging by presenting several versions in different heavy gauge “metals”, each with a unique color palette that ranges from greasy black to weathered iron oxide orange.  Brandt plays on the notion of what you see is NOT what you get, playing with the essence of cognition. Richard lives here in Portland, currently teaching at Portland Community College’s SE Center.


JOHN GEORGE LARSON:John George Larson: Large Gear, wood fired local clay.COGnition: Contemporary Wood Fired Sculpture at Eutectic Gallery

Using native clay to create sculptural ceramics that seem firmly rooted in Euclidean geometry, Larson takes large slabs of local-dug clay and builds them into symmetrical forms shaped like paddle wheels, crowns, pyramids, cages, or oversized, precisely calibrated gears.  The pieces share a meaty thickness, which Larson challenges by cutting out and removing sections in a rhythmic sequence that gives each of his pieces a sense of motion.  He has studied at Utah State University and under contemporary ceramist Oh Hyang Jong in South Korea. John is currently building his fifth wood kiln and maintains his studio in Milan, Minnesota. He recently spent a year working for Mudshark Studios in Portland Oregon which brought him to the attention of the Eutectic Gallery partners. Larson uses native clays and other indigenous materials to create his works which can be found in national and international collections.


BRAD MCLEMORE:Brad McLemore: Rig Post, wood fired stoneware. COGnition: Contemporary Wood Fired Sculpture at Eutectic Gallery in Portland, OR

Most recently from Virginia, where he was a professor at William & Mary College, Portland-based artist Brad McLemore makes sculptural forms that are abstracted from mechanical devices. His sculptural objects explore and consider the formal relationships embedded in tools and objects of industrial design. McLemore is interested in expressing the tactile and stone-like characteristics particular to clay and the ceramic process.  He creates visual enigmas of vaguely purposeful objects, the particular utility of which seems to be just beyond understanding. Again, our collective sense of cognition as an audience is put to the test.